Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Report of the Finnish Translator-Secretary to the Socialist Party Natonal Convention [May 1912]"

See other formats


Report of the Finnish Translator-Secretary 
to the Socialist Party Natonal Convention 

[May 1912] 

byJ.W. Sarlund 

Published in John Spargo (ed.): Proceedings: National Convention of the Socialist Party, 1912. 
(Chicago, IL: The Socialist Party, n.d. [1912]), pp. 237-239. 



To the Socialist Party National Convention, 1912: 

The organizing of the Finns into the Socialist 
party was mainly begun in 1902 and 1903, and dur- 
ing the years following there were scores of Finnish 
locals and branches organized. But the movement was 
weak until our present form of national organization, 
composed of all Finnish locals and branches of the 
Socialist Party, was started in 1906 and the Translator's 
office established at the party's national headquarters 
beginning with the year 1907. At the beginning there 
were 53 branches in the organization with member- 
ship of about 2,000. With this small but promising 
group of units and members our organization was then 
heartily recognized by the Socialist Party, through its 
National Executive Committee and National Secre- 
tary, and a space for our Translator in the national head- 
quarters was arranged for. Of course, we had to have 
our own office fixtures, pay rent for the space, and com- 
pensate our Translator-Secretary but the simple rec- 
ognition and the moral and advisory aid given to us by 
the Socialist Party was of great help to our organiza- 
tion when added to the praiseworthy enthusiasm in 
the rank and file. From May 1908, we have had the 
office space free, and from October 1910, the 
Translator's wages have been paid by the national office. 
The continuous grown of our organization will be best 
seen by the following figures as shown by the records 
in the Translator's office. The average paid-up mem- 
bership per month and the number of locals in good 
standing at the end of each year respectively has been 
as follows: 

1907 — 133 locals — membership 2,928 



1908 — 160 locals 

1909 — 180 locals 

1910 — 173 locals 
1911— 217 locals 
1912 — 223 locals 



membership 3,960 
membership 5,384 
membership 7,767 
membership 9,139 
membership 11,483 



{1912 figures as of April 30, 1912) 

The figures showing the financial transaction of 
the Translator's office during the same period are as 
follows: 

In 1907 — Total receipts, $7,329.52; receipts 
for party dues, $4,128.36. Total expenditures, 
$6,545.45; for state and national dues, $3,570.13. 

In 1908 — Total receipts, $10,069.82; receipts 
for party dues, $4,770.45. Total expenditures, 
$9,964.74; for national dues, $1 ,939.40; for state dues, 
$2,121.09. 

In 1909 — Total receipts, $15,645.94; receipts 
for party dues, $6,087.00. Total expenditures, 
$1 5,208.79; for national dues, $<illeg.>76.10; for state 
dues $2,862.63. 

In 1910 — Total receipts, $18,836.34; receipts 
for party dues, $8,332.25. Total expenditures, 
$18,824.39; for national dues $3,539.50; for state dues 
$4,135.89. 

In 1911 — Total receipts, $20,646.46; receipts 
for party dues, $9,469.52. Total expenditures, 
$19,578.56; for national dues, $4,604.80; for state 
dues, $4,755.55. 

In 1912 (up to and including April 30) — Total 
receipts, $1 1,315; receipts for party dues, $4,087.80. 
Total expenditures, $9,902.57; for national dues, 



1 



Report of the Finnish Translator-Secretary [May 1912] 



$1,993.70; for state dues, $2,094.10. 

Besides the receipts and disbursements for party 
dues the financial transactions consist mainly of the 
following: Special monthly assessment of 5 cents per 
member, collected for agitation and organization pur- 
poses, which has been permanent during the whole 
life of our organization and which is required from 
every affiliated branch; special assessments and dona- 
tions for the Finnish College; special yearly assessments 
to our convention fund, and contributions to Finland's 
socialist and trade union movements; for Russian revo- 
lutionists; for the general strike in Sweden ($1,369.70 
in 1909), and for every strike, labor controversy, spe- 
cial election fund, etc., in this country, for which a 
call for funds has been issued among the socialists. The 
total amount collected as assessments for the College 
during the years 1 909, 1911, and 1 9 1 2 up to April 30 
has been $6,073.79. The next highest sum collected 
through our organization during 1908, 1910, 1911, 
and 1912 has been for the socialist movement in Fin- 
land, a total of $4,622.92. 

To our call for statistics about the activities and 
conditions of the Finnish locals, during and at the end 
oflastyear, 185 of the 217 locals answered. According 
to the answers of these 185 locals, the following data 
is given: 

The membership of these locals on December 
31, 1911, was: 

Paid up to date — 8,332; total in the books — 
13,391 (of which 9,138 were men and 3,755 were 
women). Members of labor unions — 2,317; natural- 
ized citizens — 1,635, and 2,234 having the first pa- 
pers. 

Business meetings held during the year — 4,346; 
propaganda meetings — 2,128; entertainments, etc. 
— 3,233. 

Sub-committees: 83 agitation committees, 12 
women's committees, 106 show committees, 22 sing- 
ing societies, 28 brass bands, 89 sewing clubs, and 53 
gymnastic clubs. 

Lecture courses were held in 39 locals, for a to- 
tal time of 58-1/2 weeks and the combined attendance 
has been 4,576 persons. Schools for English in 21 lo- 
cals for 615 pupils. 

Locals own 19 libraries with 10,061 volumes. 
Besides there are 62 libraries, with 20,419 volumes, 
which are not owned by locals, but by all the Finns in 



each locality and in most cases are controlled and man- 
aged by Socialists. 

Approximate amount of literature and papers 
distributed free, $2,436.19. 

Approximate amount of literature and papers 
sold, $22,644.70. 

Total receipts for the year, $193,569.47; expen- 
ditures, $180,922.50. 

Sixty-three of the locals own real estate or hall 
buildings, or both, with a total valuation of 
$3 1 3,365. 1 1 . Total value of shares of stock and bonds 
to the college and different publishing companies, etc., 
$55,118.00. Total value of all property belonging to 
these locals, $550,751.00. Debts to individual mem- 
bers and real estate sellers, $232,084.98. Net resources 
of all locals combined, $323,964.41. 

Approximate Finnish population — men, 
women, and children — in the localities where these 
party locals exist is 108,323. 

The actual paid-up membership of the Finnish 
locals and branches of the Socialist Party is well over 
10,000. The number of Finnish locals in good stand- 
ing is 223, which are located in 28 states as follows: 
Arizona (1), California (6), Colorado (2), Connecti- 
cut (1), Florida (1), Idaho (3), Illinois (5), Indiana (2), 
Maine (5), Massachusetts (17), Michigan (26), Min- 
nesota (48), Montana (10), Nevada (3), New Hamp- 
shire (7), New Jersey (3), New York (6), North Da- 
kota (2), Ohio (11), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (10), 
Rhode Island (1), Utah (2), Vermont (3), Washington 
(16), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (17), Wyoming 
(10). With the exception of Connecticut, Florida, New 
York, and Rhode Island and the large cities in Califor- 
nia, Ohio, and Oregon, the Finnish locals and branches 
in these states have had the right to buy their party 
due stamps from the Translator. The state organiza- 
tions of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, 
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New 
Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, 
Wisconsin, and Wyoming have already allowed the 
Finnish branches the requested 50 percent rebate on 
state dues, but not always on local dues; California, 
Montana, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, and West 
Virginia are allowing some rebate; and the rest of the 
states do not allow any at all. 

The agitation and organization work is being 
carried on by the Eastern, Middle, and Western Dis- 



Report of the Finnish Translator-Secretary [May 1912] 3 

trict Committees, which were organized after the plan States. The papers are owned by stock companies, in 
decided upon at our Hancock convention of 1909. which the Finnish locals as well as individual Social- 
Every district is routing a permanent organizer and ists are the shareholders. Tyomies and Raivaaja both 
special organizers occasionally. While, on account of own their buildings, convenient for printing and pub- 
language difficulties, our work is and has been more lishing the Socialist message which they have been 
of an educational propaganda, still we are trying to doing in a most valuable manner, 
take part in the political affairs as well. Our locals are "Tyovaen Opisto" (The Working People's Col- 
bound, by the prevailing resolution of the Hancock lege), with its school building and other accommoda- 
convention, to participate in the affairs of their county tions at Smithville, Minn., is also owned and controlled 
and city organization as much as possible, and every by the Finnish Socialists and Socialist locals. This in- 
effort is being made in the way of urging our mem- stitution is being conducted on the same lines and for 
bers to become American citizens. At least three spe- the same purposes as workers' universities in European 
cial organizers will be put in the field during the com- countries. The common school subjects are taught, 
ing campaign. special stress being put upon the study of the English 

The Finnish Socialists of the United States have language, and lectures are given on Socialism and other 

had three national conventions. The first one was held economic subjects. The attendance in the school has 

at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1904; the second one at been increasing every year. The tuition has been made 

Hibbing, Minn., in 1906; and the third at Hancock, as low as possible in order to give an opportunity for a 

Mich., in 1909. The welfare of the Socialistic activity greater number of people to attend. Heretofore the 

among the Finns in this country, the plans of work for school has been maintained mainly by special assess- 

our national organization and its relations to the So- ments and voluntary donations by the locals of our 

cialist Party have been the most important matters for organization, and methods for its support in the fu- 

discussion at the conventions. The Socialist Party has ture will be discussed at our next convention as well as 

had a representative at every one of these conventions. at the annual meeting of the College stockholders, 

Our next convention will be held June 1, 1912, at which will be held after the adjournment of our con- 

Duluth, Minn., and most likely it will be not less of vention. 

importance than any of the previous conventions. One As seen by the figures above published, the Finn- 

of the propositions is the taking over of our papers ish Socialists have always been lavish in their support 

and publishing houses into the ownership of the orga- of the movement in the old country. From time to 

nization. time we have sent over financial aid for the political 

The Socialist papers in the United States, pub- and educational campaigns of the Socialist Party of 

lished in the Finnish language are: Finland. This has not been done for the love of the 

Tyomies, a daily, published at Hancock, Mich., "fatherland," nor for the purpose of keeping our na- 

circulation of about 12,000; Raivaaja, a daily, pub- tionality alive or to simply save the so-called state au- 

lished at Fitchburg, Mass., circulation over 6,000; tonomy of Finland. At least a great majority of us 

Toveri, a tri-weekly, but will appear as a daily on and have had a deeper interest in the matter — have had 

after July 1, published at Astoria, Ore., circulation the aim of international Socialism in mind and have 

around, 4000; a weekly woman's paper, Toveritar, pub- given help to that part of the globe where suppression 

lished at Astoria, Ore. , has been in existence since July is more felt and where, on the other hand, our cause at 

of last year and already has a circulation of over 2, 000. present has a considerably strong foothold. It is the 

A monthly magazine, named Sakenia, is also published fight against the Russian autocracy, which for a de- 

at Fitchburg, Mass., and a comic semi-monthly paper, cade and a half has used every effort to bring in reac- 

Lapatossu, at Hancock, Mich. Besides these, there is tion in place of the advanced education and ever-in- 

Tyokansa, published at Port Arthur, Ont., Canada, creasing interest in Socialism in Finland, in which we 

heretofore a tri-weekly, but by May 1 will be a daily, are taking part. We are in this fight with the struggling 

which is widely circulated among and gets a consider- proletariat of Russia, and we know that only in the 

able part of its support from the Finns in the United victory of the Socialists in Russia lies the victory of the 



Report of the Finnish Translator-Secretary [May 1912] 



Socialists in Finland. Before the victory is won, the 
struggle may become more pressing, and the time may 
come when you — the delegates to this convention 
— and your constituents will be asked to do your ut- 
most in the way directed in the resolution on Finland 
adopted at the last International Socialist Congress. 

In conclusion I take the liberty to make a few 
suggestions regarding the matters concerning our or- 
ganization as well as the other foreign-speaking orga- 
nizations in the American Socialist Party. 

The Socialist Party should do everything in its 
power to organize the so-called foreigners — all kinds 
of them — as it is the only probable way to prevent 
them from lowering the American standard of living. 
The same help should be given to every nationality in 
order to prevent the capitalist class from using the 
unorganized and yet unawakened nationalities against 
the others that happen to be organized and are trying 
to better their conditions. Agitators should be sent to 
speak to them in their own language and the organi- 
zation of all non-English speaking Socialists should be 
given all possible forward push. The provisions for 
conducting the work of national non-English speak- 
ing organizations should be made a part of the na- 
tional constitution and such part of the constitution 
made imperative to all state and local organizations, 
without regard to any state autonomy, as the welfare 
of these organizations affects the national party as a 
whole. The provisions in the present constitution have 
been of good help for non-English speaking organiza- 
tions, but some modifications in them should be made. 
It should be strictly provided that only one national 



organization of the same language shall be admitted 
or recognized by the Socialist Party; branches of non- 
English speaking organizations should belong to the 
national party only on the condition that they also 
belong to their respective state organizations should 
belong to the national party only on the condition 
that they also belong to their respective state organiza- 
tions; the non-English speaking organizations should 
not be compelled to come under the jurisdiction of 
the county and city organizations, but in political cam- 
paigns and conventions for political purposes they 
should have equal standing with the rest (this provi- 
sion has been successfully practiced in the state of 
Washington, for instance); an allowance of a certain 
amount, say 50 percent, of the state and local dues 
should be granted for use in agitation and organiza- 
tion work by such organizations; for the present the 
non-English speaking branches, no matter in what state 
or county they are located, should have the privilege 
of buying their party dues stamps from their respec- 
tive national Translator-Secretaries. 

The more you help the foreigners to organize, 
the sooner they cease to be foreigners. When, in the 
course of time, the National Finnish Organization will 
be no more a necessity, the moral spirit and the mate- 
rial holdings, which then will be left to the Socialist 
Party, will be worth receiving. 

Fraternally submitted, 

J.W Sarlund, 
Translator-Secretary 



Edited by Tim Davenport. 
Published by 1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR, 2005. • Free reproduction permitted. 



http://www.marxists.org/subject/usa/eam/index.html